Remembering Your First Time


hot mangu

Siva Vaidhyanathan is writing a book called The Googlization of Everything and he's collecting data:

Do you remember the first time you used Google? When was it? How did you hear about Google? What was you first impression?…As Mudbone (Richard Pryor's character) used to say, "you only remember two times, your first and your last."

Put your experience in his comments section and/or share it here.

My first google was of my unusual last name "Mangu" in honor of the fact that my grandfather used to check every phone book he encountered on his travels, hoping to find out that there were more of us in America. At the time, the search wasn't fruitful. Now I know that there are Indian and Kenyan Mangus, plus a popular Dominican plantain dish.

Of course, 50 percent of Americans still haven't googled themselves.

NEXT: Smokies in the Pews

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  1. 50 percent of Americans still haven’t googled themselves

    I have. Evidently I’m a mediocre baseball player who died in 1939.

  2. Meh, I remember when Google was this new fangled search engine that SubmitWolf didn’t recognize. It may have been new on the block but Altavista is weren’t.

  3. I certainly do not remember the first time I used Google. I do know that I use it all the time now, after having been at Yahoo user in the late 90s

  4. I remember exactly. I was working at a very small software shop (about 13 people) and the CEO was a long-haired, very smart and enthusiastic dude. He was on top of all the latest vaporware and internet buzz, and he told me about Google, so I immediately went on it, tried it, and made it my homepage.

    I remember remarking with him our mutual astonishment at how fast searches came back, and our speculation on the server farm size required.

  5. My friend in high school was trying to persuade me to listen to Korn and googled them. I was convinced that Altavista was better for about 3 months but ending up switching after google made my assignments easier. Google and Korn are now permanently associated with each other in my head 🙁

  6. I started using Google because its page was absent of all the advertisments and tabloid material that clutter Yahoo and the rest. I don’t need links that will tell me my horoscope or who Lindsay Lohan is fucking. I just need a search box.

  7. I have no idea what I googled, but I do remember thinking that it was a nice clean interface that was going to kill all the other bloated search engine pages. They’ve become bloatware since then, and have now added an “I Feel Lucky” button along a couple new links and a menu frame. But it’s still minimalistic compared to the old Yahoo.

    I live in Mountain View, and I also recall at the time seeing their old offices when they were at most 50 people, and wondering, “where are they making the money to pay all those people?” Now that they have 50 gazillion employees, I still wonder that.

    p.s. Ever search for yourself on You used to be able to find on on the second page searching for my name, but now I’m not until the fifth or sixth page.

  8. The thing about google is, it fucking works. It ain’t perfect, lacking the interface with my brain and forcing me to use a keyboard.

    My first google search, a test really, was Thundra, an obscure character in Marvel comics. I got hits and pictures of course. My most recent search was “Mcdonalds menu”. Of course, I got what I wanted instantly.

    Unlike many class warriors, I’m glad that the guys who built the system are billionaires. I’d tell you their names and wealth stats but right now I’m just TLTG.

  9. When I google myself, all I get back is my idiot comments I get on blogs, because I – like an idiot – use my real name in blog comments.

  10. I have. Evidently I’m a mediocre baseball player who died in 1939.

    I’m a hall of fame football player. Take that ed.

  11. I don’t remember at all the first time I used it, but I remember it wasn’t long before I stopped using any other search engine.

  12. I used Alta Vista as my first search engine. I heard of google somewhere and my first search(porn likely) went straight to what I wanted. There were no commercial posts,search spam, or ads. It was like that for months!

  13. I’m positively the only one of me

  14. A friend I was working on a project with in middle school convinced me to use it. I had previously used Dogpile.

  15. Nope, no clue when that was. But I was never so happy to leave 2.5 million worthless hits on AltaVista behind.

  16. Anybody remember Lycos? or Excite?! (I still have a friend that has an email account with Excite)

  17. ed,

    At least you don’t have someone with the same name posting pictures of himself drunk at house parties. I fortunately don’t look like him, but I’m only about 4-7 years older than the bastard, so it’s not immediately obvious it isn’t me from my resume either.

  18. “Ever search for yourself on”
    Just tried it the first time. Plenty of photos by me, but none of me. Hmm. That’s probably for the best.

  19. I think I was using HotBot right before using Google. A woman in the office I found extremely annoying told me to try Google, and I was very reluctant to do so, but I have to admit I guess she was right.

  20. i don’t remember the first time i used google. nor do i remember the first time i used the phone book or the dictionary. it’s a frickin reference tool. i will never understand why people get so jazzed about this stuff. i have never once felt the urge to talk to strangers about which version of the yellow pages i prefer and why.

  21. Anybody remember Lycos?

    Hell yeah. Lycos, go get it boy! I used lycos till it became all ads, all the time. I don’t remember if I used Alta Vista before or after, but it had the same problem.

    I haven’t the faintest idea what I first googled, but once I googled, I never looked back.

  22. I’m pretty sure I discovered Google because they were powering Yahoo!s search results at the time, and I figured why not go straight to the source? Hell, back when I first got online I used every search engine I could find, and I can’t even remember the names of all of them. At one point HotBot and Infoseek were my faves, but once Google came around, that was it.

  23. Lycos apparently still exists. One of my friends was interviewed by them recently.

  24. Oh, and anyone remember Tried, and failed miserably, to be Google before Google came along.

  25. Oops, Google came first. Ignore the last sentence of the previous post, and instead I’ll say that it tried to out-Google Google and failed miserably.

  26. I’m a hall of fame football player. Take that ed.

    I’ll need to see the tobacco card, J Sub.

  27. It’s bad luck googling yourself, like looking in the mirror while holding a mirror. You might see your google-self and go insane. And get that damn hat off the bed.

  28. I’ll need to see the tobacco card, J Sub.

    Here ’tis

  29. Well, I remember when my mom caught me googling myself. Very embarrassing.

  30. Like many, I was originally an Altavista user. I also happened to be in the search engine business (late ’90’s), developing an engine for a major online retailer. Then a co-worker showed me this engine he had stumbled across called Google. We were both amazed at the speed and quality of the searches. We were instantly hooked.

    I remain amazed to this.

  31. “Best of ALL TIME.”

    Impressive, J sub.
    (Note to self: Don’t get in his way.)

  32. The first time I heard about it was when my stepmom was using it way before it became popular, and kept going on about how she loved it and about how great it was. I didn’t listen, and kept using Altavista, because I liked the fact that the search box had a fixed width font (I know, I know).

    By the way, what kind of name is Mangu? I’m guessing either Portuguese, Spanish, or Romanian.

    …and my name is Stephen Smith, which means that I’m totally and completely immune to being Googled.

  33. Fall of 2001 for me. (A librarian supporting one of my classes that semester announced that it was now the best search engine, so I switched from Alta Vista.) Alta Vista churned up every hit, but it had no filtering system to put useful hits first.

  34. I remember reluctantly using Google after they bought DejaNews. That was when you were more likely to find decent technical advice on Usenet than in some random corner of the Interweb. I was a serious Altavista fan and only their ensuing suckage compelled me to start using Google instead.

  35. Hmmm. I had just assumed that a Katherine Mangu-Ward was some sort of amulet to protect the bearer from witchcraft, Mangu meaning witchcraft (Azande) and Ward being a protection.

    Don’t recall my first google search, but apparently I’m a British WW1 fighter pilot, a contemporary hip-hop DJ, and an Australian opera singer. Oddly enough, I *was* a DJ at my college radio station (world music), and I like opera.

    Despite all that, for years my humble homepage was the first result for my name. It pays to know people on the intertubes.

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